Being expats we travel. A lot. Short, medium, long, we’ve done it. More than that we’ve done it with the kids in tow.
At the grand old age of six my eldest child has visited thirty five countries. THIRTY FIVE. That is no mean feat, in fact it is pretty incredible.
We’ve been to resorts, villas, hotels, cruise ships. Taken city breaks and beach holidays. Action packed (as much as they can be with kids) weeks and relaxed in style. On a budget. Luxury.
I guess you could call us travel junkies.
Yet there are things we have never done, we have never been skiing for example, even though I adore the sound of apres ski. The boys have never seen snow.
We have never ventured West to America, or South America, with the children. Though my eldest was conceived in Argentina….
And, despite the fact that my son’s best friend is Turkish, we have never been to Turkey. I mean just think of that delicious Turkish food, Mantı, Pide, and my personal favourite Poğaça. The stunning surroundings and the lush greenery a world apart from the dust here in Qatar.
The question is what steps do you need to follow for a family holiday?
After all, it can’t be that difficult can it?!!
Just follow the steps for a perfect family holiday
- Decide on a date
- Change the date because it isn’t in school holidays
- Pick a destination
- Change the destination because it’s too hot/cold/wet/windy/dusty
- Change the date again because the flights you need to get to your destination only fly on a Sunday, Tuesday and Friday.
- You can’t get time off work for the new dates, so change the destination
- The new destination hasn’t anywhere that’s good for kids to stay, change it again
- You’ve finally got a date, a destination, and google at your fingertips. Start googling hotels frantically
- Decide, actually you don’t want to stay in a hotel, but a villa
- The villas are more expensive than you thought, go back to searching for hotels
- Reject the first twelve for not having kids club
- Find the perfect hotel. Realise it’s going to cost the earth because you now have three children
- Go back to Air BnB
- Reject the first twenty seven villas for a variety of reasons ranging from no fence round the pool to you didn’t like the look of the lamp
- Extend your search area
- Find the perfect villa, realise it’s in the middle of nowhere and you won’t be able to get anywhere without driving for two hours
- Reduce the search area and amend your search criteria
18. Find a place. Book it. Done.
- Except – what are you going to do with three kids of different ages to occupy them for a whole week?
- Research activities
- Find laser tag. Spend an hour reminiscing with your husband about HOW MUCH FUN it was when you were a kid.
- Go to book it. Realise that there is an age limit and your middle child doesn’t hit it. Decide you won’t be able to deal with the tantrum.
- Back to the drawing board.
- Spend hours of your life looking at fabulous activities, imagine the joy on your children’s faces
- Realise that some activities involve spending seven hours on a glass bottomed boat.
- Re-think booking activities and decide that you’ll just book when you get there
- Tell the children you’re going on holiday
- Immediately regret it as you’re not going for six months and each morning they wake up asking if it’s TODAY you’re going on a plane
- Each morning tell them no. Deal with several tantrums over it whilst also trying to force their feet into their school shoes.
- Feel frazzled by 8:37am each morning and call your husband to tell him how much you really REALLY need this holiday
- It FINALLY gets closer. You can start think of logistics
- Spend hours collating a Pinterest board on busy bags
- Put off the trip to the shops to get what you need to make busy bags for each child
- Put in an Amazon order
- Cancel the Amazon order, we’re going ON HOLIDAY, surely that is exciting enough without a busy bag
- Start packing, a week before
- Take all the clothes out of the bag as you’ve left yourself nothing to wear
- Frantically will the washing machine to WASH FASTER the night before you leave
- Stuff your cases haphazardly and hope that you have everything (you don’t)
- Get the children to pack a plane bag
- Unpack the plane bag that basically contains rock
- Get them to repack
- Unpack it a second time when they basically collapse under the weight
- Get them to repack
- Give up and send them to bed, unpacking it yourself and limiting the toys
46. Go to bed for an early night
- Realise you’ve forgotten to pack Wilf the teddy
- Drag yourself out of bed to pack him
- Wake in a panic and realise you haven’t packed a medicine bag. Frantically tip out your medicine cupboard into your suitcase to cover all possibilities.
- Go back to bed and your alarm goes off minutes later, get everyone up with your very best “we’re going on holiday voice”
- Your going on holiday voice is quickly replaced by your GET IT TOGETHER WE NEED TO GO GO GO voice
- One of the children needs a last minute poo
- So does the other
- And then the baby has a nappy explosion
- You’re on your way to the airport and they realise that you’ve unpacked their plane bags and they really really NEEDED that particular car
- Placate them with promises of magazines in the airport
- Through immigration and there are no magazine in Smiths. Spend a small fortune on sticker books instead.
- Feed them in the airport
- Except they don’t want anything there is to offer. Hold your tongue, you’re on holiday, where’s the wine?
- Manage to get on the plane. Settle in your seats and wait patiently for the next 15 minutes while everyone boards.
- Take smug selfies to post on Facebook. Gritted teeth “WE. ARE. HAVING. FUN”
- Seatbelt sign on. Plane begins to taxi to the runway. They need a wee.
- Pray they can hold it, and ask why they didn’t ask to go in the 15 minutes they were messing with their plane bag looking for the car that they know is missing.
- Make it to the toilet.
- Plug them into the in-flight entertainment and relax
- Another wee
- Then the other one
- Now they’re hungry
- It feels like days later when you finally emerge from the plane years older
- Through immigration where the passports are checked and no one looks like their picture anymore
- Collect your bags, thankfully all have made it, spend the rest of the time stopping them from climbing on the luggage belt, or trolley
- Leave the airport and make your way to where you are staying, fretting about all the trips you haven’t booked or ways to make it special
73. Arrive and realise you’ve left something vitally important at home
- Make plans to go and find one in the shops. Or get it shipped.
- Panic stations, the holiday is ruined, our smug Facebook photos are a LIE, a LIE!!
- Look round and see the kids beaming faces and realise that everything important is right here with you. You don’t need to make special trips, activities or otherwise. They’re delighted to be with you. Your smug photos aren’t a lie at all (or that smug)
- And then wine. Perfect.